Research Degrees at the Blizard Institute

The Blizard Institute has more than 100 research students at any one time. We offer full-time and part-time University of London MPhil, PhD, and MDRes degrees. We have a superb working environment where the majority of our research students benefit from interaction across the disciplines in our open plan state of the art research facility in the Blizard Building at Whitechapel.

Areas of study

All eight of our centres support research degree studies and applicants are encouraged to go to the relevant centre webpage to see the subjects covered by our institute. We recruit scientifically and medically qualified students; therefore you will find research programmes reflecting basic scientific advances in biology and medicine, in translational research and in that of an immediate clinical nature.

What to expect

You will find a range of exciting research areas led by world leaders in the field. You will receive support from your supervisors and the Graduate Studies Committees of the Barts and The London medical school and the Blizard Institute. Research student interests are represented at both these levels. We expect you to participate in transferable skills training as well as your research so that our students are prepared for the challenges of the job market. Students are also encouraged to attend Blizard Institute student forums. The agendas include social events, networking, help with research issues, and career events.

Entry Requirements

Entry to research degree studies at the Blizard Institute

The Blizard Institute is able to offer a range of studentships throughout the year, although a large proportion are advertised during the autumn term. These include funding from research councils, charities, and our own Queen Mary and medical school studentships. Studentships are advertised via the normal channels, including

Our requirements are those of Queen Mary University of London. Applicants must hold or be expecting to hold either:

  • a first or upper second class degree OR a masters degree in a relevant subject from a UK university, OR
  • a recognised equivalent from an accredited overseas institution.

How to apply and further info

Studentships are advertised via the normal channels, including

Further information can be found on the following pages:

Please note: All MD (Res) applicants must undertake the following in order to apply for a PGR studentship at the Blizard:

  • Applicants are required to submit a literature review of between 5000-10,000 words, together with a plan of future research.The literature review and research proposal will form the basis of the oral examination which will be conducted by a panel of at least two members of academic staff. The panel will be approved by the Institute Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Applicants will need to have gained ethical approval for their proposed research project.
  • Applicants will also need to demonstrate that they have adequate funding to cover the tuition fees for their duration of their study.
  • The panel can only recommend acceptance of an applicant once all these conditions have been met.

Clinical Academic Training Pathway

Clinical academic training pathway

Trainees undergo foundation training and, in most specialties, compete for Core Training posts before being appointed to Specialty Registrar (StR) training with a national training number. The popular time to step ‘out of programme’ for a three year PhD fellowship is during StR training, after securing an NTN.

For clinical academic trainees, the recommendations of the Walport review were adopted as part of setting up the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in England. This provided extra options:

  • Academic Foundation programmes provide opportunities for research training during pre-registration years.
  • Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) provide an ‘academic’ NTN (NTN-A) and combine early clinical training with a few months of research experience before applying for a competitive PhD Fellowship. These posts are allocated to individual specialties in specific centres, so it is not possible to obtain an ACF in every discipline in every centre.
  • NIHR Lectureships are designed for post-doctoral researchers to maintain 50:50 research:clinical time.

Competitive funding is available for fellowships to support a PhD (Training Fellowships), post-doctoral training (Intermediate Fellowships/Clinician Scientist Fellowships) or your development as a senior independent researcher (Senior Research Fellowships). These are important markers of esteem and also provide resources and time for you to undertake parallel research and clinical training as a supernumerary member of your clinical department. Trainees generally apply for research funding as an ACF or during the early years of specialty training. The biggest providers of funding for clinician PhDs are the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council. Other charities that fund research fellowships include Action Medical Research, Alzheimer’s Society, Arthritis Research Campaign, Arthritis Research UK, Association of Clinical Neurologists (ABN), British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, Dunhill Medical Trust, Fight for Sight, Heart Research UK, The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Sparks, The Stroke Association and the Wellbeing of Women.

The academic lead for NIHR clinical academic trainees for the medical school is Professor Edel O’Toole (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) who is based in the Blizard Institute and is happy to advise about clinical academic training.


Postgraduate Research Lead: Dr Paul Allan

Please direct any enquiries to:

Research Administrator: Dr Abrar Ahmed, 020 7882 8525, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.